HomeNationalIn Sarawak, girls of Chinese-Iban parentage face obstacles being recognised as Native

In Sarawak, girls of Chinese-Iban parentage face obstacles being recognised as Native

Henry is seen here with Ainsley and Andrea. – Borneo Post pic

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MIRI, April 16 – Both Henry Chua and his wife Christine Chan’s fathers were Chinese, while their mothers were Iban.

Henry and Christine, along with their daughters Ainsley, 21, who was born in Labuan, and Andrea, 18, who was born in Brunei, were all classified as Chinese by the National Registration Department (JPN).

In February, when the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) unanimously passed the Interpretation (Amendment) Bill 2022, which, among others, would consider a child from a mixed marriage a Native even if only one of the parents is a Native, the family was overjoyed.

Last week, Christine managed to change her race to Iban without any issues.

However, when Henry went to the JPN at UTC Miri earlier this week with the required documents and statutory declarations to change Ainsley and Andrea’s official race, he was shocked by the major obstacles faced.

“JPN told me that my eldest daughter needs to obtain permission from the Labuan authorities to change her status but for my youngest daughter, who was born in Brunei, they said it was not possible to change her status to Native,” he told The Borneo Post.

The former engineer with the oil and gas industry pointed out both girls have MyKads and Malaysian passports, and their birth certificates state they are Sarawakians.

“What I would like to know is why a full-fledged Sarawakian cannot change her status to her mother’s status?

“The law should not discriminate and deprive my child born in Brunei from getting Native status, to enjoy the Bumiputera privileges. Such conditions should be reviewed as they are pretty outdated,” he said.

He called on the authorities to clarify the situation.

Henry pointed many Sarawakians were born outside Sarawak in a host country when their parents were working or studying abroad.

He also said that unlike in Sarawak, in Sabah all children of any Native married to non-Natives, such as Sino-Kadazans, are eligible for Bumiputera privileges.

Henry is originally from Betong, while Christine is from Miri Division. – Borneo Post

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